West New York: Vote to be held on contentious development at upcoming zoning meeting
Nov 16, 2012 | 4646 views | 8 8 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WEST NEW YORK -- The West New York zoning board will hold a vote deciding the fate of a controversial development project at their upcoming meeting this Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at Public School No. 4, located at 6301 Palisade Ave., and is expected to be well-attended, given the amount of controversy that the project, a planned high rise apartment building on the corner of Boulevard East and 67th Street, has already caused.

The advocacy group Concerned Citizens of West New York has been canvassing around the area that would be affected, claiming that the project would add further congestion to an already-dense part of town. Town officials, meanwhile, have said the project will bring in significant revenue in the same vein as the developments along the Hudson River.

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BuceD
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November 18, 2012
The Town of West New York is contemplating multiple exemptions of zoning requirements to allow construction of a 13 story apartment complex on the corner of 67th street and Blvd East. The building has many problems as viewed by a longtime resident.

The plan is to build right up to the property line on all sides. This would present a hazard to anyone walking on the sidewalk in front of the building due to objects and ice falling off the balconies to the sidewalk below. There is an inherent ice hazard from the proposed waterfall on the front facade during the winter months as the wind on that corner never stops and will blow water onto the sidewalk which will then freeze. Sunlight will be blocked from the 67th street side of Halifax Hall basically all year and will cover the pool area of the Versailles building from approximately 3PM in the summer months which will definitely affect property values of the Versailles apartments. Who wants to use a pool in the summer that is in constant shadow?

A number of large and beautiful trees will have to be removed from the adjacent property because of the construction right up to the property line.

An argument has been made that the building will increase revenue for the town through increased tax revenues even though the developer,through his representatives has not said he would not seek a tax abatement for the building so that argument should be given no weight at all in the deliberations of the zoning board.

As we all know,on street parking has become a critical issue in the town. This building will not only take spaces away but will make the matter worse due to visitors trying to park on the street and also tenants with more than one car will have to try to park on the street as well. Parking spaces in the building's garage have been designed

with barely any room between cars and will also require zoning changes to accommodate so many cars; though not enough to allow all apartments a designated space and if there is more than one car to an apartment, too bad. The proximity of the border with Guttenberg will force more cars and traffic onto 66th and 67th street, further eroding the quality of life in the area.

The zoning requirements for a building of that size is 40,000 square feet. The lot itself is about 13,000 square feet. It seems beyond reason that the board would allow this construction to begin on a lot so small in a town already one of the most densely populated in the entire country.

The town fathers who made the zoning laws did so for a reason, they should not be sidestepped so easily to allow a developer to put up a building that by itself would require so many variances as to further reduce the quality of life for it's neighbors. I am firmly opposed to this developement and urge all residents of West New York to make their feelings known at the next zoning board meeting on Nov. 20. This could be our last chance to stop this project from moving forward.
jaocourtney
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November 18, 2012
I live in the most densly populated municipality in the US, Guttenberg, directly to the north of this sad state of affairs. It seems that planning and zoning boards along the 'Gold Coast' and elsewhere along the Hudson River have decided to allow development by variance as a rule rather than an exception, so much so that the Mayor of Hoboken spoke out against it in a speech.

Cities, towns, and municipalities spent countless hours developing their codes, and variances should always be considered the exception, NOT the rule. They should also NOT be used as negotiating points: I'll give up the waterfall if you allow me to cover virtually all the lot with my building! To hear a developer say that it works very well in Manhattan is to send chills down one's spine; isn't that the reason why so many of us left?

We are rapidly becoming the Brass Coast, or Copper Coast, as easy to tarnish as a piece of silver left out in the wind and rain. Soon, I expect, people will be leaving here because of the overcrowding of our roads and transportation services, the increase in pollution, and increase in taxes because the suggested ratables will NOT cover the additional services needed.

If we lose the all the wonderful things that brought people out here from across the river (cleaner air, less crowding, lower housing costs, more generous lifestyles, easier transportation), how long do you think it will be before we see a reverse migration?

Please, WNY, wake up and smell the roses, before the smell of engine exhaust completely overpowers them!

Judith Courtney

Chair, Hudson-Meadowlands Sierra Club
natnat
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November 18, 2012
The town of West New York is the second most densely populated town in the United States. Bringing in a development of this volume – 13 stories on a lot which according to the Zoning Code of this town only accommodates a garden apartment building is totally irresponsible. The volume of the proposed development is extreme in relationship to the size of the lot on which it would stand. West New York is very different from highly developed towns such as New York City, Hoboken, or Jersey City. West New York DOES NOT HAVE A SUBWAY or PATH system and therefore all travel- by means of public transportation or private car- contributes to and exacerbates road congestion. The proposed development will add more vehicles to our streets, add more commuters to our already overcrowded buses, and worsen the desperate parking situation of our town. This development is also being proposed without regard for the massive negative impact it would have on the neighborhood; from destroying the beautiful old trees of the private house directly to it’s south, to casting existing homes to it’s north, east, and west forevermore in shadow. Any development which threatens the quality of life of an entire community in order to satisfy the greed of one applicant and his developer is irresponsible development. I stand firmly in opposition to such irresponsible development.
nancyarum
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November 18, 2012
This project should be of importance to all Hudson county residents as you attend these hearings, you learn just how much goes on behind the scenes and how powerless we are. Perhaps there is some value in more people becoming active in the politics of our neighborhoods.
jzgtr
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November 18, 2012
I think the question is a simple one. This proposal is in FLAGRANT violation of roughly 15 West New York zoning ordinances. These ordinances were written to protect us from overcrowding, from possible fire dangers, traffic snarls, and a number of other deleterious effects which inevitably result from overdevelopment.

Why would the West New York zoning board consider- even for a minute- allowing a developer to come into our city and put up a building such as this one which conforms IN NO WAY with our local building requirements?

I have spoken to many local people, we all hope that something will be built on the site- we are in no way anti-development. However, our hope is that whatever should end up being built on that site will conform with local zoning regulations and have a positive- not negative- impact on the lives of the people of our community!
rosepuerto
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November 17, 2012
The development in question is proposed on the Exxon Site on Boulevard East and 67th Street. In order to make a substantial return on the development (a nice, big profit) the developer is requesting that the WNY Zoning Board approve the construction of an over-sized building which will be built to the property lines - NO SETBACKS. The site is not large enough to accommodate a 13 story building with such density or units (only a small garden apartment building would actually be in compliance with the town ordinances) but that is why they are asking for the Board to approve the excessive variances. The only ones that will profit from this are the developer and the property owner (who sadly made a poor investment and now wants the town residents to pay for it). Significant tax revenue will NOT be generated from this because the flipside is that it will COST our town money in terms of overburdening our resources . Additionally, it is pretty likely that they will seek a tax abatement like many if not all of the those developments on the river, so they DON'T HAVE to pay the taxes that the public officials like to rave about. Most residents are sick and tired of our officials taking the easy route and simply overbuilding the area with more and more large residential buildings instead of tackling the tougher issues of bringing in JOBS and commerce for the people of WNY and developing our already established commercial areas, such as Bergenline Avenue. People here want and need JOBS!!! not "more buildings!" I urge the residents of WNY to please take notice and demand that our elected officials do the right thing for us who live here - STOP OVERCROWDING and TAKING AWAY OUR OPEN SPACE and the aesthetic beauty of our town. STOP DESTROYING our town and turning it into an unattractive and overcongested area for your own political gain (with phony, self-dealing commentary that it's FOR THE PEOPLE....it is NOT! it's hurting our town because we cannot sustain it!). The www.concerned-citizens.com website provides a good explanation of the size of this development and what it will mean to our town if it is approved. More buildings in violation of town ordinances are on their way and awaiting approval of this Meridia development - next one, right across from the Tower West and Riviera Towers! Don't let this development set the terrible precedent for future overbuilding along the Boulevard and throughout the town; please help us protect our town and demand support for our already established businesses and JOBS!! Thank you!!
JollyR22
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November 17, 2012
I would really like to know the names of the town officials that think this project would bring in "significant revenue" since the developer's own testimony during the last meeting revealed that they can't quantify any aspect of what revenues would be generated, if any. It should be common sense by now that this argument is pie in the sky as the developers on the Hudson River were all granted tax abatements that effectively did away with or significantly reduced any promised tax revenues. Furthermore, any time I've spoken with any town official in regards to this development project they were quick to recuse themselves from the conversation citing conflict of interest, so I don't know how the Hudson Reporter was able to get them on the record. Once again, What are the names of theses officials?
jpal330
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November 19, 2012
The proposed building is one of the more egregious examples of the over-development, by greedy landowners and developers, that threatens to destroy the communities along the Hudson River.

Anyone who has read the application and supporting documents, and/or attended the Zoning Board of Adjustment hearings over the past year knows that the proponents of this project have demonstrated utter disregard for the town of West New York, its zoning laws, its citizens, and the neighboring communities. The applicants seek no fewer than 12 bulk variances and 4 design waivers – all of a substantial to extreme degree -making a mockery of the town’s master plan and existing zoning laws. In return, they offer nothing.

The developer will more than likely apply for a tax abatement, since it has not denied its intention to do so -- and it has already done so with a project currently under construction on Park Avenue and 61st St. On the other hand, it cannot say with any certainty what financial benefits, if any, will inure to the town of West New York from this project.

The negative effects of this project have been spelled out in the comments of concerned and informed citizens that appear above. Approval of the project by the Zoning Board of Adjustment will effectively eviscerate our zoning laws and set a reckless and dangerous precedent that will be impossible to stop. The self-interests of the developers must not be allowed to destroy our neighborhoods and our quality of life.